Check out this nutcase:
How did you convince the hospital to let you film the surgery and take the hip home?
I called the hospital and they immediately said no to filming. I kept on calling though, several times a day, until they put me through to my main surgeon. He also turned me down at first, but after I told him my nightmare story and presented my project he said, “Hell, yes”. Luckily he is very interested in art and loved the idea.
Then there was the question of the hipbone. Usually they crush it to powder and use it for medical moulding materials. Keeping my hip was also totally out of the question. But I gave them an ultimatum: Either I keep it, or I go to another hospital. We argued until the surgeon finally was sick of the bitching nurses and let me have it my way.
Taking a piece of yourself home in a plastic bag is one thing. But how did you end up eating your own tissue?
Originally my meat wasn’t part of the project. I was just going to scrape it off and throw it away. As I gave the bone its first boil, in a little kettle, the flesh came off and I poured it into the wash sink. Then the shock hit me – I thought: “Oh my god, this is my flesh.”
I quickly concluded that it was too personal to photograph and picked up a piece. I stared at it for a long time and then I said, “F@#k it.” I put it into my mouth, tasted, chewed, swallowed and got to crying uncontrollably. It was happiness, anger and frustration combined.
Did you throw up?
No, after a couple of minutes of crying, it suddenly felt very natural and I didn’t think of it as human flesh anymore. So I continued boiling and scraping. Pulled out some chilli and garlic and fried it in a pan. Salt and pepper was mandatory and so was a good bottle of wine. Then I lit some candles and also whipped up some potato gratin. Sat down and ate it all – it became a ceremony, a ritual.